Why I use Twitter

imagesMany people I encounter just don’t “get” Twitter.  They think it is just a waste of time with a lot of people tweeting about where they are or what they are doing. Seriously, what possible value could come from 140 characters anyway? I know this from my conversations with others and from personal experience – I thought that too!  I was wrong.

You should be on Twitter if for no other reason than it will enable you to experience social networking first-hand. One of my pet peeves is people who pontificate on new technologies but have never actually used them. This is particularly annoying among CIOs whose responsibility is to understand new technologies but for some reason dismiss “consumer technologies” like Twitter.

Some CIOs and senior technology managers have others tweet for them but this never works. Real users can always tell the difference. There is no substitute for personal experience to convey authenticity.  This is not something you can effectively delegate.

Twitter will help you stay connected to people you care about.  This is one of the few technologies I’ve found that actually contributes to community-building.  In today’s busy world, it’s difficult to keep up with others.  Twitter makes it easy and fun.  It will introduce you to new friends.  I have now met several new people via Twitter.  These have contributed to my life in small but significant ways.  It will make you think about your life.  You start to see your life through the lens of the people following you.

It will help you keep up with what people are talking about.  Twitter is the best way to find out about breaking news.  Via Twitter, I have learned about emerging trends, hot books, cool software, great wines and even great restaurants.  Because the information is coming from real people who care enough to tweet about it, I have found it more valuable and authentic.

It can help build your personal “brand.”  When people hear your name, what comes to mind?  What is your reputation?  What is the “brand promise”?  Brands are built incrementally, one interaction at a time.  Twitter gives you one more way to build your brand, one tweet at a time. It is a great way to drive people to your blog or web site too.

You don’t have to tweet anything just set up an account and start following people. Twitter is very Darwinian in that you can unfollow people with a single click so the list of people you follow is always evolving based on the value of the tweets they post.  If someone is posting lots of low value tweets like “I’m at Starbucks”, “I’m watching this show”, I’m going to the beach” then just unfollow them. It’s that easy. The converse it true. If you don’t post high value posts people will drop you in a flash.

So, set up a Twitter account and start following people, companies, causes, ideas, etc, that you care about. Don’t feel compelled to tweet anything – just watch the stream.  I think you will almost immediately “get it” and quickly learn to love Twitter.

What are your experiences?

Advertisements

About Michael Keithley
Digital Transformation CIO and Public Speaker. Previously, CIO at Creative Artists Agency

4 Responses to Why I use Twitter

  1. Twitter is a great tool. I have met so many wonderful people through tweeting. After tweeting with someone, upon meeting them IRL (in real life) it is like I have known them for many years.
    However, beware Twitter can become a “time-suck.” It is easy to spend hours tweeting.

    I fully agree with you when you say: “A) One of my pet peeves is people who pontificate on new technologies but have never actually used them; and B) This is particularly annoying among CIOs whose responsibility is to understand new technologies but for some reason dismiss “consumer technologies” like Twitter.”

    People should not give an opinion until they fully understand the subject. And yes, the job of a CIO is to analyze new platforms and determine how to leverage them.

    • Steven highlights two very important points.

      First, Twitter like all social media can be a “time-suck” so you need to have the discipline only dedicate the appropriate amount of time to using it. As new social media platforms come up I am continually adjusting my time allocation to the ones that give the most return. For me, that is Twitter first, LinkedIn second, and Facebook third. My Facebook time is decreasing because it can be such a “time-suck” with little return to my professional CIO life. Pinterest, Google+ Instagram are all below the line of ROI for me and therefore get little of my time.

      Second, I agree “People should not give an opinion until they fully understand the subject. And yes, the job of a CIO is to analyze new platforms and determine how to leverage them.”

  2. Is Twitter a waste of time? Nope, it’s not. I use Twitter pretty consistently: for marketing purposes, for short messaging to clients, even for customer service. I’ve never thought about it being a time waster. I love it.

    • Twitter like all social media can be a “time-suck” so you need to have the discipline only dedicate the appropriate amount of time to using it. As new social media platforms come up I am continually adjusting my time allocation to the ones that give the most return. For me, that is Twitter first, LinkedIn second, and Facebook third. My Facebook time is decreasing because it can be such a “time-suck” with little return to my professional CIO life. Pinterest, Google+ Instagram are all below the line of ROI for me and therefore get little of my time.

%d bloggers like this: